So the world recently tossed out our calendars and bought new ones, ringing in the year 2011. It got me thinking... How many calendar systems are out there in the world? I know the Chinese have their own calendar and celebrate New Years at a different time, and there have been other calendars used throughout history by different cultures. The Mayans had their own system, the Romans had a different system which was changed by various emperors (ever wonder where July and August got their names?). All this leads me to believe that ultimately, how we track time is arbitrary. One can argue the rotation of the earth and it's course around the sun, but the specific point in that rotation that means NOW is a different day from THEN, or that it's a new year, well, that's an arbitrary system.
Now I'd like you to think about this- the world, as a whole, pretty much has agreed on the current western system, correct? As I mentioned, I recognize the Chinese calendar, but that is an internal system, mostly for cultural purposes. When dealing with "outsiders," the Chinese have accepted the "outside" calendar. Ask most people in China what year it is, and I'm certain they will tell you "2011."
So, if we as a globe can collectively agree on how we tell time, why can't we agree on other basic "rules." Such as killing is bad. Or that using children as soldiers in warfare is wrong. Or a whole slew of others that most people would say is "common sense."
Sadly, I have no answers (although, as a pair of my underpants says- "If everyone just agreed with me they'd all be right!"), and the point of this isn't to provide any. I'm merely asking questions, in the hopes that others will too.